Everyone’s Favorite Ogre
An ogre, a princess, a donkey and many more characters from the magical universe of “Shrek” are coming to Little Theatre.
The Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown is set to host “Shrek The Musical” beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m.
The production is based on the DreamWorks film, “Shrek,” and is director Helen Merrill’s community theater interpretation of the Broadway show. The production is made possible by special arrangement with Music Theatre International.
According to Merrill, “Shrek The Musical” is a major project to take on, and she’s very excited for the opportunity to bring it to Jamestown, she said.
“Shrek is such a loveable green human being that kids relate to,” Merrill said. “But, I think his philosophy is good for everybody. I’m anxious to be doing it.”
The show will feature tunes from the Broadway production, including Merrill’s favorites, the big production number “Welcome To Duloc,” the be proud of who you are philosophical tune “Freak Flag Fly” and the closing theme “I’m A Believer.”
“They are quite challenging,” Merrill said. “It almost has an edge of modern rock, and there is orchestration for guitar, which we have. You have to listen to the lyrics of the songs to hear the story – it’s totally enchanting and funny.”
The show features a cast of nearly 40 members, including a number of people from the community and some Junior Guilders. Adam Owens, who plays Shrek, is quite excited for the opportunity to portray the loveable ogre on stage, he said, especially because he’s taken on the character for Halloween.
“You know how people always say, ‘So, and so was born to play a part?’ I don’t know that I want say I was born to play this part, but I’ve been dying to play this part,” Owens said. “Shrek is such a nontraditional character, and I can’t just step on stage in a costume from downstairs. So, Todd and Beth Strong have spent hours casting my face, and constructing all the parts that are going into it – I’m going to be almost unrecognizable.”
Owens isn’t only excited about taking on the role, he said, but also to be able to bring the production to Jamestown since it’s one of his favorite animated films.
“‘Shrek’ was one of those movies that validated an adult watching animated film,” Owens said. “There’s so much adult humor in it, but it’s also appealing to kids.”
Victoria Walker, who plays Fiona, is a Lakewood resident who performs with the Jamestown Municipal Band, Jamestown Community College Concert Band and Jamestown Community Orchestra. A native of Worthington, Pa., Walker earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. She also studied voice while there, which came in handy for taking on the role of the female lead of “Shrek The Musical.”
“I like the musical version of ‘Shrek’ because it’s much more social justice oriented than the movie was,” Walker said. “There’s a much bigger emphasis on equality for everyone, embracing diversity, and how it makes us stronger. I also like Fiona because she takes the cultural expectations of her time, which she has molded herself and learned to live by over 23 years of living in a tower, and she learns that the storybooks aren’t necessary to be happy. I think that’s a really good take-away message, especially with the media pressure that a lot of young girls have.”
Other major roles include Shrek’s trusted steed, Donkey, played by Megan Clark, of Clymer Central School, and the villain Farquaad, played by Dave Lewis of the Jamestown Harmony Express.
“Loveable, energetic, full of vim, vigor and vitality – Megan Clark will win the hearts of everybody,” Merrill said.
The set, props and technical effects, which were designed by Merrill, were created by Jason Dorman and Todd Strong, who are standing in for Norm Merrill as he recovers from a recent surgery. Parents of the cast members, and volunteers, helped create costumes. The show is choreographed by Tiffany Wakeley Heintzman.
“This show has local talent who will bring a level of production that the audience won’t realize isn’t professional,” Merrill said. “Come out to sit back and forget your everyday strife to enjoy a little family-friendly fantasy and fairytale.”
General admission is $20 and is $10 for students. The Lucille Ball Little Theatre is located at 18 E. Second St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 483-1095 or visit www.lucilleballlittletheatre.org.